Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Dharshana M. Perera presented credentials as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to ASEAN to Secretary General Le Luong Minh at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta.
During the discussion which followed, the ASEAN Secretary General welcomed the accreditation of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka and described it as an important conduit to deepen engagement with ASEAN.
Whilst noting the good relations which Sri Lanka has nurtured bilaterally in the region, Secretary General Minh appreciated the contribution made by Sri Lanka as a partner in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). The Secretary-General looked forward to Sri Lanka’s greater involvement within relevant ASEAN processes and invited Sri Lanka for its involved engagement with the Secretariat.
Ambassador Dharshana Perera whilst appreciating the warmth with which the accreditation has been received by the ASEAN countries, briefed on the important developments, which have taken place in the country, including the critical reconciliation processes currently underway following the re-establishment of peace in Sri Lanka after over 30 years of conflict.
He also highlighted changes the Unity Government in Sri Lanka has brought about including: strong political stability; strengthened democracy, rule of law, and, the establishment of effective mechanism for good governance. The changed scenario has given the opportunity for Sri Lanka to recalibrate its engagement globally including with the Southeast Asian region and ASEAN in particular, he said.
Pointing to the important processes within ASEAN on confidence building measures and Preventive Diplomacy, Ambassador Perera said that these are important pillars which has sustained peace and stability in the region.
On Sri Lanka’s partnership with ASEAN, the Ambassador reiterated Sri Lanka’s intention to further elevate, progressively, Sri Lanka’s engagement as a Sectoral Dialogue Partner, while sustaining the dialogue within the ARF framework with emphasis on regional security issues including terrorism, violent extremism, illegal migration and human smuggling, and non-traditional security issues such as environmental and climate-related challenges.
Ambassador Perera commended the manner in which ASEAN has emerged as a successful regional initiative and expressed satisfaction at the opportunity to deepen Sri Lanka’s engagement with the region with this accreditation. In this regard, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to ASEAN emphasized the need to progressively create wider economic opportunities for ASEAN’s partners following the landmark formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on 31 December 2015.
He also commended Secretary-General Le Luong Minh’s leadership as Secretary General at the important juncture in the history of the organization. He conveyed the greetings of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera which were warmly reciprocated. He also pledged the commitment to contribute to strengthen relations between ASEAN and Sri Lanka.
ASEAN’s External Relations Division Officials including Assistant Director Phanthaly Chantharathip, Senior Officer Div III Mr. Akbar and Second Secretary Mrs. Dilini Lenagala of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, in Jakarta were associated with the talks. (Colombo Gazette)